Sunday, 3 January 2010

Itchy Fingers

Some time since my last posting - seasonal holidays and all that. Shortly after my last post I began to get itchy finger about going climbing again. Unfortunately on that weekend no-one was available to head out so I went for a couple of long runs instead. The arm still isn't straight (there's about 20 degrees to go before full extension) but I was definitely keen to get out.

As far as running goes, well the last two months of last year saw me do a lot of miles, perhaps because I've not been doing any other sports like climbing or cycling. In fact I felt confident enough to offer to help Mark Smith (Swiss Toni on the FRA forums) in his attempt to complete a mid-winter Bob Graham Round on the weekend before Christmas. His help on leg three had pulled out so he had turned to the forums for help. In the event five of us turned up at Dunmail Raise at 4am on Saturday morning. With temperatures of -6C it was a case of wrapping up warm rather than going light. A few slight mistakes in the navigation during the dark hours but once sunrise came spirits lifted and we had a great session from Bowfell to Scafell Pike. Ultimately Mark got round in just outside the 24hr limit but being out for that length of time in such temperatures it can hardly be described as a failure.

With the holiday season over and the cold weather continuing, yesterday we headed over to the Lakes for a bit of winter climbing. The original plan was to go to Brown Cove Crags on the west side of Helvellyn but Steve didn't fancy driving over Dunmail Raise in case it snowed so we changed plans to Jogebar Gully and headed in from Grasmere! After three hours of post holing through the unconsolidated snow we changed plans again and did one of the easy gullies on Tarn Crag on Dollywagon Pike. The wind had picked up and the spindrift meant that often we couldn't see anything. At the top of the route I was nearly being blown off my feet by the stronger gusts!

On the way back it was more post-holing as our tracks had filled in with drifting snow. I managed to break through a snow bridge and ended up to my waist in bog water! Fortunately since I was wearing Paramo salopettes my legs soon dried out though my feet remained wet inside my plastic boots until we got back to the car.

An accident on the A65 and long queues of slow traffic meant a long drive home. I'm definitely not as fit as I used to be :-( a sedentary job doesn't keep you fit like scaffolding does. Mind you I'm also nearly thrity years older!

My arm felt OK, though obviously it was quite weak since I haven't really been using it in anger, a bit of real life stresses and strains should help it rather than the formal exercises I've been doing.

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